Properties of Metals and Alloys and their Applications

Properties of Metals and Alloys and their Applications

Introduction Chapter


Metals materials have existed since time in memorial. In fact, civilization of mankind demonstrates a story of development of metals as materials considered to be the foundation of technological advances. Several centuries have passed since metal got discovered as a tool useful for mechanical tools.  In the past humans used smelted metal materials to create tools like agricultural tools and weapons among others Sharma (P. Chandra 2004).

Metal materials continuous advances provided the growth of heavy metal industries such as steel and diamond just to mention but few. There are several types of metals categorized as heavy and light metals. Heavy metals include Mercury lead and steel while light metals include aluminum, magnesium among others. The resourcefulness of metals attests to the extremely extensive range of properties of more than 70 metals on the periodic table.  The following therefore provides an introduction to some of the more outstanding metal properties.


First and foremost, are the mechanical properties, power and ductility enabling the extensive use of metals in structures and machinery.   Metals as well as allows demonstrate flexibility, manipulability and the ability to be deformed without breaking; hence making them easy to shape into steel beams of construction. As if not enough, the metal gets also used in extrusion of other metallic material like aluminum windows and door frames, as well as metal cans and variety of fasteners (paper clip and nails).

The sear strength of metals under pressure and other forms of forces make them ideal for structural services such as construction of buildings, aircrafts, automobiles bridges, gas pipelines, road safety guards and cables.  Another type is the chemical properties.  In chemical properties metals blend with other non-metallic elements, to form an enormous number of alloys that result to enhancement of metals in applications. For example, the blending of iron, chromium and nickel offers a sequence of stainless steel alloys used by alloy reams automobile manufactures.

Metals like molybdenum, nickel, rare earths, cobalt and the platinum group metals enhance the catalystic response for the synthesis of organic chemicals from petroleum. An enormous variety of metal compounds and salts inject profitable impacts to products, like plastics in terms of resistance to degradation, flames resistance, brightness and colour effects. Furthermore, effects on metal salts have made photography a reality in the modern technology appliances.

Another type of metal properties gets to be, magnetic properties. Iron and several other metals reveal ferromagnetism properties naturally inhabited in them.  Additionally, paramagnetism can be exhibited by electrically (in an electrical field) magnetizing alloys and other metals. Magnetic properties can be engaged in various systems such as speaker systems (for audio gadgets) electric motors used in cars and other machines. Eminent studies reveal that metals emanate/ emit electrons when exposed to a short wavelength, radiation or when heated to adequately high temperatures.

In addition, when metals get exposed to sufficiently high temperatures they deform and result into smelting. When the metal is at this state, can be used to make various types of metallic gadgets such as; vehicles cover metals, construction beams and beautiful curios or ornaments.  The same phenomenon gets applied in Television screens, using rare oxides and a variety of electronic instruments and devices. Metals like lead have the ability to absorb radiation; hence it gets employed in protecting the patient like the apron the dentists provide in an X-ray assessment.

In conductivity, metals are superb conductors of electricity and heat. The conductivity of metals simultaneously increases in accordance with the rise of temperatures. This means than the higher the temperature the excellent the conductivity of the metal.  Electrical conductivity provides people with electricity supplies used for domestic purposes or industrial purposes.  For example,  electrical conductivity provides transmission of power over long distances providing  people with electricity in house hold appliances such as; cookers, TV, and Microwave.   On thermal conductivity, thermal transmission gets harnessed in cooking utensils, as well as in automobile radiators and water heaters appliances.

Furthermore, metals get used in applications sensitive to corrosion such as food preparation, chemical plants, lead in storage batteries, plumbing and medical applications.  On the other hand, the wear resistance and deformity issues get considered especially during transportation since some metals do not have much ability to resist breaking. However, there are others such as metals in gear levers and springs which do not break due to much of deformation (bending) hence they enable the automobiles to balance the masses effectively.  Most of the metals have lusting effects a part from some which includes copper and gold among others.

The objectives:

$1·         To explore on some properties of metals and alloys

$1·         To examine metals and alloys application in life

$1·         To assess the significance of metals and alloys in modern technology


Cohn C. Sigmund (1991) Properties of metals and alloys retrieved on 11th/18th/12 from
Habashi F. and Wiley J. (2008) Alloys: preparation, properties application 321Pgs
Sharma P. Chandra (2004) Engineering materials: properties and applications of metal and alloys Prentice Hall India Pvt., Limited 258Pgs

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